76ers’ assistant Sam Cassell to interview for open HC job with Jazz

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 04: Los Angeles Clippers Assistant Coach Sam Cassell looks on before an NBA game between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Los Angeles Clippers on November 4, 2017 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

After the Utah Jazz and longtime head coach Quinn Snyder parted ways last week, it was clearly just a matter of time before the hunt for a new HC began for Utah. Well, flash forward to today, and that hunt has begun, and one candidate is quite familiar to Philadelphia fans. Shams Charania and Tony Jones of The Athletic announced that the Utah Jazz are interviewing Philadelphia 76ers assistant Sam Cassell.

As referenced in the tweet by Shams, the connection between Utah and Cassell is Danny Ainge, who was a longtime executive for the Boston Celtics, including during Cassell’s time as a player and then as an unofficial assistant player-coach for the Celtics from 2008-09. This is obviously a great opportunity for Cassell but a deal stroke of luck for the 76ers, who stand to lose one of the bright and promising assistants in the league.

Philadelphia would be wise to do anything in their power, within reason, of course, to keep Cassell in the building. It may ultimately not be up to them, but they cannot confidently coast on the notion that they will be fine letting one of their top coaches currently employed just walk to another team. Some have called for Cassell to be the next coach of the 76ers, and while the team may not be ready to make that commitment, that may be what it takes to keep him around. If so, then if the interview with Utah goes as they and Cassell hope, he may be as good as gone.

Now all of that is certainly premature. There are other candidates that Utah will interview, and this will be a process, not a sprint. The Sixers simply cannot approach the situation with a laissez-faire attitude, or they may once again see an assistant in the NBA finals before them.